Peter Behncke of the Revelstoke Ski Club received a once-in-a-lifetime phone call this week. It was from the Program Director of the B.C. Alpine Ski Association telling him he’d qualified to compete at the Canada Winter Games. Held only every four years, the Games will take place this February in Wentworth, Nova Scotia, and bring together athletes from across Canada competing in 20 sports. The B.C. Team for alpine skiing will be made up of the province’s top five men and top five women born in 1994 and 1995, based on their results from the two race series so far this season. Behncke edged out Marcus Henry of Fernie by six points to take the fifth and final spot on the B.C. team. He will be joined by Blake Ramsden and Brodie Seger of Whistler, Martin Grasic of Windermere Valley and Broderick Thompson of the B.C. Men’s Ski Team.
“I’m really excited for this race,” Behncke said. “Canada Games is a huge event, and getting to be part of it feels amazing. This has been my goal for months to make it to this event, and achieving it is the highlight of my season so far.”
The last races that were qualifiers for the Canada Winter Games were two Giant Slaloms and two Slaloms at Lake Louise. Held during last weekend’s cold snap, the FIS team raced through temperatures close to minus 30 degrees and suffered through frostbite to some toes and faces. Alix Petit tied for 13th in the Giant Slalom, while Behncke and Cole Smith both had a 48th and Eric Schwenck a 50th. In one of the Slalom races Erika Park finished 28th and her sister Jamie placed 38th. Behncke had a 22nd, Cole Smith a 29th, Brady Roy a 35th and and Schwenck a 40th. Richie Smith was consistent in 42nd and 49th. Alex Duchesne similarly placed 43rd and 50th and Adrian Bernava finished 45th and 49th. The FIS team is off to Apex next for some speed races: Downhill and Super G.
This weekend the Kinder team was away at Sun Peaks for three Giant Slalom races. On the girls’ side, Emily Unterberger won two silvers and a bronze. Teammate Sonia Schwenck was 11th K2 and Thyra Erben won a bronze in the J division in her first race with the club. Sara Jo Howatt was eighth in K1, Anne-Marie Duchesne tenth, Caroline Bouwmeester 13th, Thea Peasgood 22nd and Erin Behncke 26th.
In the K1 boys Callum Hicks won a silver medal and Bryce Molder had a personal best sixth place.
In the K2/J/Masters races the competition was fierce. Dominic Unterberger won all three races overall, leaving his father Erich in seventh overall but with a gold medal in the Masters division. Cole Smith had a third overall and was second J, and his brother Mitch won gold in K2 with a ninth overall. Lachlan Hicks had two silvers in K2, Max Scharf a fourth, and Donovan Miskiman a 20th. Peter Behncke was fourth J.
Handing out the medals this weekend at Sun Peaks was Senator Nancy Greene, the most decorated ski racer in the country and Canada’s female athlete of the 20th century.
Named after Greene, the Nancy Greene program in Revelstoke is also off to a great start after a few weekends of skiing with their teams. Nancy Greene head coach Matt Kieller is thrilled with the way the program has been running. “We’ve been having a really good season so far,” he said. “All the kids are having a lot of fun.” He added that their first race will be at Harper Mountain on Jan. 30, and that they are especially excited about the home race at RMR on March 5 and 6.